snow thrower won't throw
After reading this feel free to call me an idiot, but as an idiot I have a question or two someone might be able to answer.
I've used a shovel all my life to clear snow. Last month, I inherited a Craftsman snow thrower, two stage, which I thought would be great for our gravel driveway. The machine had been used four times. It looked pristine. When it snowed, I took it out and ran it, and the chute kept throwing the snow straight up. I realized it was torn at the base. After some surgery, I was able to secure it to the collar.
The next day, I took it out and started it, but instead of turning, the auger just squealed and all kinds of smoke began coming out of the engine. I shut it down and took a look. I knew about shear pins and that they break, but didn't see any on the augur shaft. I just saw two bolts. I called a friend. He said that's where the shear pins go, so I took out the bolts and replaced them with the pins. Of course, when I started it again, all I got was a squeal.
So the question is, have I stripped the gears in the drive shaft by not changing the bolts and putting the pins in? Or could it be something else? Can I open the gear case and do a repair, or is this something I have to (god help me) depend on Sears to fix? What I don't understand is until I shut it off after the snow was shooting straight up, the augur was working fine.
It's pretty cold here, it also occurred to me that after I used it the first time, ice got under the impeller and froze it. Today, I ran a hair dryer all over the area, but after cleaning out any ice, I still can't move the impeller, nor does the augur turn.
Anything I can check or try before calling repair. Have I destroyed the damn thing? Any advice (even go back to the shovel) would be appreciated. Thanks,